GameChat – Twins @ Red Sox, 6:05 pm

Programming note: Tonight’s game is on ESPN!

Today’s entertainment revolved around the whole Gardy vs Hicks confrontation from last night. The Twitterverse was apparently alive with comments about an incident that probably would have gone totally unnoticed outside of Minnesota and surrounding states if not for the fact that it occurred in Boston, where everything is magnified 100 times.

Hicks is back in the starting line up tonight and playing center field, so apparently his sins weren’t fatal.

Hopefully, the Twins will do something tonight that will make everyone forget about the other nonsense (and hopefully whatever that something is will be a good something).

 

TWINS

@

RED SOX
Carroll, 2B Ellsbury, CF
Mauer, C Victorino, RF
Willingham, LF Pedroia, 2B
Morneau, 1B Ortiz, D, DH
Plouffe, 3B Napoli, 1B
Doumit, DH Gomes, J, LF
Arcia, RF Saltalamacchia, C
Hicks, CF Drew, SS
Florimon, SS Ciriaco, 3B
  _Hernandez, P, P   _Webster, P

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Minnesota

4

7

0

1

2

0

0

0

1

15

20

0

Boston

5

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

8

12

1

Seriously.

I have no words to describe this game accurately.

It was just ridiculous and I don’t care who was scoring along at home, I don’t think ANYONE has a matching sheet. In case you were wondering, here’s what the OFFICIAL MLB Play by Play has listed for the top of the 7th inning:

TOP OF THE 7th

 

 
AB# Play String Play Play by Play
68     Defensive Substitution: Daniel Nava replaces right fielder Shane Victorino, batting 2nd, playing right field.
68 ..BFD E5/TH/G Josh Willingham reaches on a throwing error by third baseman Pedro Ciriaco.
69 .BFBFFX 8/F Justin Morneau flies out to center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
70 .CD S7/L.1-2 Trevor Plouffe singles on a line drive to left fielder Jonny Gomes. Josh Willingham to 2nd.
71 .FX S8/FDP.2-3;1X3(3);BX2(8643) Ryan Doumit singles on a fly ball to center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Double play, first baseman Mike Napoli to center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to shortstop Stephen Drew to second baseman Dustin Pedroia to first baseman Mike Napoli. Trevor Plouffe out at 3rd. Ryan Doumit out at 2nd.

Despite more officiating miscues than I can count and a strike zone that traveled more than Santa Claus, the Twins were able to make significant use of the Fenway’s historic nature – and goofy field proportions! The whole team gets a beer – or two (or as many as they need to recover) courtesy of Knuckleballs. It was a lot of fun to watch the whole lineup get a hit tonight! And our sincerest congratulations to Ryan Pressley for getting the Win tonight – it was his first MLB Win and he worked hard for it tonight.

The official vote for BOD was a landslide – for the Green Monster.

green monster

 

But if you’re a stickler for having a person as your boyfriend of the day, second place went to Ryan Doumit – who has basically kicked ass this whole series. He kept it up tonight too so we’ll toss the alternative acknowledgement his way.

Ryan Doumit

Ryan Doumit

That being said, let’s hope this officiating crew gets their heads screwed back on before tomorrow’s series finale.

 

Clash of Top Two Picks May Have to Wait

Wednesday, May 8, was supposed to be a big night for fans that follow the top minor league prospects in professional baseball. Quad Cities shortstop Carlos Correa, selected with the No. 1 pick overall by the Astros in last June’s amateur draft, was set to go head-to-head against Kernels’ center fielder Byron Buxton, chosen as the No. 2 pick overall in the same draft by the Twins.

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton

According to MiLB.com, it was the first time two position players of high school age were drafted in the first two spots in over 20 years. As a result, it is almost inevitable that Correa and Buxton will be compared closely to one another throughout their careers.

But thanks to a pitch that hit Correa in the hand a week ago and put him on the River Bandits Disabled List, their first match up on the same field will have to wait. The question is, for how long?

Correa was placed on the Bandits’ 7-day Disabled List on Friday, May 3, which would make him eligible to be reactivated for this Friday’s series finale with the Kernels. However, there’s been no indication from the team that they intend to do so.

After this series, the Kernels and River Bandits are scheduled to face one another next on June 5 in Cedar Rapids. Then again, if Buxton continues to perform at current levels, there is legitimate reason to question whether he will still be wearing a Kernels uniform at that point.

Carlos Correa (Photo: ESPN.go.com)

Carlos Correa (Photo: ESPN.go.com)

If Correa and Buxton don’t face one another this season, it’s unlikely they’ll match up again in a regular season game until they wear Big League uniforms for the Astros and Twins. The two organizations have no high-A, AA or AAA affiliates playing in the same league.

How rare would an early meeting of No. 1 and No. 2 picks from the same draft be? Only three times have the top two picks in the draft made their full-season debuts in the same league in the same season. It hasn’t happened in the Midwest League since the No. 1 pick in the 1983 draft, Tim Belcher*, opened the following season with the Madison Muskies and No. 2 pick Kurt Stillwell was in a Cedar Rapids Reds uniform.

It’s not difficult to understand, then, why many fans have looked forward to seeing Correa and Buxton on the same field this season.

Though we may not see Buxton and Correa share a ball field this week, we can take a look at how their first years of full-season professional baseball have compared so far.

There’s no doubt that Buxton is off to the better start. While there is already considerable speculation concerning how soon the Kernels’ center fielder might be promoted to the next level in the Twins’ minor league organization, there has been little, if any, such speculation where Correa is concerned.

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton

Five weeks in to the season, Buxton has played in all but one of the Kernels’ 29 games and has the second highest batting average in the Midwest League at .373. Correa was having some trouble staying on the field for the River Bandits even before his current stint on the Disabled List. He has already missed 11 of Quad Cities’ 29 games and is hitting just .221 on the year.

Buxton leads the MWL with a .488 on-base percentage and also leads the league with a .647 slugging percentage. Combined, that puts his OPS (on-base plus slugging) at a league-high 1.135. Of Buxton’s 38 hits, 15 (or almost 40 per cent) have been for extra bases. He has seven doubles, three triples and five home runs. Buxton has walked more times (24) than he has struck out (21) and has stolen 13 bases in 17 attempts.

Correa has reached base at a .384 clip and is slugging just .397, for a .781 OPS. He has three doubles and three home runs. Correa has drawn just 15 walks while striking out 23 times. He has one stolen base and has been caught stealing once.

Five very early weeks in the professional careers of these two prospects mean very little, of course, in terms of predicting their ultimate success or failure as Major League ballplayers. If both men stay with their current organizations long term, fans should eventually have plenty of opportunities for side by side comparisons at the Major League level, now that Correa’s Astros are in the American League.

Regardless of whether Correa is activated in time to face Buxton and the Kernels this week, fans in Cedar Rapids should get their first opportunity to see the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft on June 5 when the River Bandits make their first appearance of the season at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Whether Byron Buxton will still be around to greet him remains to be seen.

– JC

*As long time Twins fans know, Tim Belcher had been selected No. 1 by Minnesota in the 1983 draft and did not sign. He then was drafted No. 1 by the Yankees in the subsequent January 1984 Secondary Draft and ended up with the Athletics organization as a Free Agent Compensation selection a month later.